The District of Sechelt has been told it must wait one year from the death of faller John Phare to request the renaming of Wormy Lake after him, but the community doesn’t appear to want to wait.
A carved sign reading John Phare Lake has already been erected at Wormy Lake, and while no one is taking credit for it, many have now started calling the lake by its new community-imposed name.
In addition, a group of mountain bikers have built a trail around the lake through some of the forest that was scorched by the fire Phare lost his life battling last summer, and the bikers have dubbed the trail Phare Line.
One of the organizers of the Sunshine Coaster cross-country mountain bike race, Sue Duxbury, said her fellow race organizer, Warren Hansen, was the primary person behind building the trail.
“He’s a mountain biker on the Coast. He is also a forester and he has worked with John Phare in the past. There was a trail part way around Wormy Lake anyway. It was actually an old skid road that went part way around Wormy Lake and was very close to the vicinity where John died,” Duxbury said.
“Warren decided that he wanted to complete the circumnavigation of the lake with a mountain bike trail and name it after John.”
Members of the mountain biking community got behind the idea and about a dozen of them came out to work on the trail over three Saturdays. Phare Line was completed on March 5.
“As a forester,” Hansen said, “I like to think of the burn as an opportunity for a renewal in life and growth of a new forest. The trail goes through the burn which will, over time, help people understand and respect the destructive power of fire, how a forest can amazingly bounce back from such an event, and what loggers like John can do to salvage trees and shape this new forest.
“By building this trail, it is my way of connecting with John as a forester and his friend. This trail was not built by me alone and I am truly humbled by the efforts of the great community of volunteers that came out to build and make this idea a reality. In honouring John’s logging spirit, this trail is our shared legacy for others to enjoy riding around the lake.”
The new trail will form part of the network of trails the Sunshine Coaster race will utilize on April 30.
The District of Sechelt plans to submit an application to officially rename Wormy Lake this summer, when it’s been one year since Phare’s death.
Phare died on July 5 last year when he was struck by a falling tree while helping battle the Old Sechelt Mine Fire.
Phare’s fiancé, Kimiko Hawkes, said this week that she was sure the family would support the official renaming of Wormy Lake after her beloved partner.
“I think it’s a beautiful way to pay tribute and honour his remembrance,” she said.